Take ownership of your product impact, join our webinar Mastering Product Footprinting Tuesday July 30

Comparison of Top LCA Software – Your Ultimate Guide to LCA Solutions

Ever wondered about the most powerful tools for Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)? In our comparison guide, we provide a quick overview of LCA, followed by an exploration of the top LCA software options. Get to know the key players, advantages, and unique features that set them apart in our exclusive life cycle assessment software comparison.

Footprinting & LCA

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a crucial methodology for evaluating the environmental impact of products and processes throughout their entire life cycle, from raw materials to production, all the way to disposal. It considers factors like resource use, energy consumption, emissions, and waste.

Software Comparison

But who benefits from this LCA Software overview?

If you or your company needs to measure a Product Footprint, a Life Cycle Assessment, a Product Carbon Footprint (PCF), or even an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD), this guide is tailor-made for you. Whether you’re a newbie in the field or a seasoned pro, finding the right software that fits your needs and purposes can be challenging. Our article serves as a handy resource, offering insights into the world of LCA software and helping you determine which tool aligns with your specific goals. Just as each sustainability challenge is different, so are the objectives of an LCA, and you can explore these diverse goals in our LCA Beginner’s Guide.

This overview includes our LCA software tools Ecochain Mobius and Ecochain Helix, as well as the four other well-established LCA software solutions: SimaPro, Sphera GaBi, OneClickLCA, and OpenLCA. We compare them side by side, as well as describe each of them and their functionalities.

LCA Software – Quick Overview

This overview helps you get more insights into the world of LCA software. We have summed up the results in the table below.

Category Ecochain Mobius Ecochain
Helix
SimaPro Sphera Gabi  OneClick LCA OpenLCA
Built for the business user  ✅  ❌
Accessibility (being cloud-based) Partially
Cost-
effectiveness
€3120/year Tailored pricing €5900/year Not available €3720/year Free
Free Trial Free demo Download demo version Download demo version  ✅ Free Software
Suited for Apparel, Consumer Goods and Electronics, Food Manufacturing, Packaging Construction Materials, Food Production, Textiles Common for all Common for all Construction Common for all

LCA software – A comparison

Ecochain Mobius

Ecochain Mobius is Product Footprint/LCA software built for the business user. With a seamless interface, Mobius produces footprints in a reliable and quick manner. Access to the world’s biggest environmental impact databases like Ecoinvent, Product Environmental Footprint (PEF), and the Dutch Nationale Milieudatabase (NMD), are included at no extra cost.

Best fit with: Ecochain Mobius fits best if you want to embrace sustainable Product Design in your company. Mobius allows you to easily test and analyze the impact of using alternative materials in your product. You can make improvements to your product’s design using an easy scenario functionality. Compare your product designs or benchmark your Product Footprint against product averages.

Users: Users of Mobius have jobs related to Product Design, R&D, Product Management, Engineering, QHSE, and Sustainability Management. Due to its intuitive design, Mobius can be used by beginners in the field of measuring environmental impact. However, intermediate and expert users will also enjoy how easy Mobius makes it to create product LCAs.

Learn more about Mobius

Ecochain Helix

Ecochain Helix helps manufacturing companies measure & improve the environmental footprint of complete product portfolios and large-scale production facilities. Helix’s focus is creating footprints/LCAs in bulk and uses a top-down approach, called Activity-based Footprinting. Helix provides high-level steering information for your company and provides dashboards of your environmental performance on a company, process, and product level. Next to that, you can create Product Footprints, LCA reports, and Environmental Profiles (LCA results) for your entire product portfolio – at once.

Best fit with: Ecochain Helix is a best fit for Construction materials, Food production, and Textiles. The tool isn’t very complex, however, the data collection trajectory and entering all the input data can be more extensive compared to creating an LCA for one product. Therefore, Ecochain Helix is fit for your purpose if you’re a more experienced LCA practitioner. If needed, support to implement Ecochain Helix is available to get you started.

Users: Mainly Sustainability Managers, Product or Facility Managers, and LCA consultants use Helix to generate environmental insights.

Learn more about Helix

Sphera GaBi

GaBi was created in the mid-’90s. It’s a very established LCA tool used in many industries, however, especially in its home market Germany. GaBi is a technically extensive solution with many potential add-ons for sustainable product development. GaBi is used a lot by LCA experts and sustainability consultants. GaBi uses its own specific LCI database and allows you to make LCAs in different standards. In addition to making LCAs, the GaBi tool supports Life Cycle Costing and Life Cycle Reporting.

Best fit with: GaBi is often considered a tool that fits best with LCA experts. If you want to make a complex and in-depth analysis of your Product Footprint, GaBi and Sphera provide you with all the right tools.

OneClickLCA

One Click LCA is the only application in our list specifically designed for one industry: the construction sector. As a result, it offers many functionalities specifically needed for the construction sector. It has several modeling and reporting features that are tailored well for the companies that make building materials or construction products. Additionally, you can analyze the environmental impact of construction projects and buildings. This is why the solution from Finland caters well to certificates like LEED (USA), the German DGNB, and BREEAM (UK).

Best fit with: If you’re in construction and a more experienced LCA practitioner, One Click LCA provides several great solutions to measure and report environmental impact.

OpenLCA

Are you looking for free LCA software? OpenLCA could be a good solution for your company. It’s open-source software and you can use it at no cost. OpenLCA has several deep-dive functionalities, which makes it useful for users with a more technical background. The software features enable you to adjust LCI datasets. This means the environmental datasets can be tweaked to match your product’s production process and inputs. Next to that, it also has several analytic features to assess the environmental impact and performance of your product.

With OpenLCA you can more extensively investigate the environmental datasets you add to the application. This allows for advanced supply chain analysis. As mentioned earlier, LCA tools rely on LCI databases if you want to use them to measure impact. OpenLCA provides access to many different databases, and a large share of these databases is not free.

Best fit with: OpenLCA is an open-source LCA solution, which means that it is attractive for anyone starting in the LCA world without a big budget. Like SimaPro and GaBi, in our view, this tool fits best with more advanced practitioners, LCA experts, and sustainability consultants.

SimaPro

SimaPro was established 30 years ago and is probably the most well-known LCA software in the market. The tool is available as desktop software as well as a cloud-based solution. However, the cloud-based option does not contain all the features. SimaPro is a technical application with many optional add-ons that make it very versatile. Additionally, it enables its users to dive deep into the LCA calculations of a product and production processes.

Best fit with:

SimaPro is used primarily in the academic field and by experienced LCA consultants. As they mention on their website, it’s a tool for well-seasoned LCA experts. It allows you to model and analyze complex life cycles systematically. With SimaPro you measure the impact of your products and services across all life cycle stages.

Author image Luc  Hillege
Author
Luc Hillege

Hi! I'm Luc - Product Manager at Ecochain. I ensure the development of our software solutions is aligned with the needs and requirements of our customers. My main objective: to deliver valuable technology that allows our customers to measure their Product's Environmental Footprint (LCA).

All posts by Luc